SILENT VOICES: HOMELESS VETERANS’ EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS ON IDEALIZED DESIGN OF SCHOOLS

Open Access
Author:
Magolis, David E
Graduate Program:
Instructional Systems
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
May 17, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Alison Alene Carr Chellman, Dissertation Advisor
  • Alison Alene Carr Chellman, Committee Chair
  • Heather A Zimmerman, Committee Member
  • Fred Michael Schied, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Educational Systems Design
  • Educational Reform
  • User-design
  • Educational Change
  • Phenomenology
  • Homeless Veterans
Abstract:
This dissertation is a qualitative research investigation that explores the educational experiences and perceptions of homeless veterans. To shed light on the phenomenon, the following research questions were addressed: What was the nature of homeless veterans’ educational experiences? From homeless veterans’ vantage points, how would homeless veterans improve schools? What does an ideal educational system look like from homeless veterans’ perspectives? The study focused on providing in-depth descriptions of homeless veteran’s narratives of their educational experiences and what they perceive as an ideal design of school. Phenomenological research methods based on the works of Van Manen (1998, 2003) and Moustakas (1994) was used to collect and analyze the data. I collected data primary through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The interviews of eleven male homeless veterans describing their educational experiences and perceptions of ideal design of school were audio and video recorded until a point of saturation. Analysis of data provided textures and structures and a synthesis of meaning and essences of the educational experiences. To establish trustworthiness I employed thick descriptions, highlighted my researcher bias, and member checked the data. Findings from this investigation brought fourth information expanding knowledge about homeless veteran’s educational experiences and perceptions of ideal schools which included the first two themes related to the participants’ individual experiences: 1) Caring teachers (with the sub-themes of Going the Extra Mile, Mutual Respect, Student - Teacher special bond); 2) Impact of extracurricular activities, especially sports, as motivator. The remaining four themes emerged in relation to the participants’ idealized design of schools: 1) Latest Technology, 2) Pragmatic Curricula, 3) Teachers (with the sub-themes of Caring teachers, Active Learning environments), 4) Dress Code. The findings of this study highlight the inherent complexities of educational experiences, educational design, and educational reform.